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How Jewelry is Made: St. Valentine

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Posted on February 05 2017

st valentine rose gold necklaceNotes from my workbench: Welcome to the first in my series of How Jewelry is Made, where I take you behind-the-scenes of my jewelry studio.Today I'm featuring my gift-of-the-month, the St. Valentine necklace. It has a special history for me, I actually created it 8 years ago after an especially emotional time. Jewelry is both meditative and healing for me and all of the pieces that I make resonate in my heart and come out through my hands as tiny sculptures. The St. Valentine necklace was created as a way to heal my broken heart and to remind me how special and noble infinite love is. The heart is a symbol of love and the crown represents royalty. It's inspired by the claddagh, an ancient Irish symbol that dates back to the 17th century, but in this necklace I've given it a modern twist. It is given as a gift between friends and also as a pledge between lovers. It's a powerful talisman so it becomes very personal because you wear it close to your heart. This necklace is very sculptural and I wanted the heart to be solid and 3-dimensional. The crown is hollowed out in the back and has cute details that make it unique. The crown flows seamlessly up into the ring where the chain goes through. Because it's a sculptural piece I decided to carve it in wax. I used purple wax because it is soft enough to be sculpted but not so soft that it won't hold the details. I started by sawing out the general shape after I traced it onto the wax block and then I cleaned up the edges with a file. You can see it here next to my larger, silver heart that I used as a reference for the shape: jewelry makingYou can see below where I started carving the heart shape, removing a little bit and checking as I work until it gets to be the shape I want. You can see all the wax dust on the heart and my fingers. :-) how to carve wax Sculpting wax is a cool process of removing material until you are satisfied with the final size and shape. The heart needs final smoothing but here is the last photo I have of the wax carving process: jewelry makingAfter the heart was finished I carved the crown and attached it to the heart with a hot wax pen. I didn't take pictures of it for this project but I use it in most of my wax carving so stay tuned! It was so much fun sharing how jewelry is made with you. You can purchase these necklaces through the month of February 2016. Thank you so much for reading. :-) blog sign up form newsletter

4 comments

  • metalicious@yahoo.com: February 13, 2017

    Thank you, Doug!!

  • Josey: February 13, 2017

    I’m curious – do you have to repeat the sculpting/carving process with each individual pendant? How about with gemstone bezels?

    Reminds me a little of molding with Fimo/Sculpey when I was a kid, except WAY more sophisticated, of course! :)

  • metalicious@yahoo.com: February 13, 2017

    Hi Josey, that’s a great question! Yes, I repeat the process for each piece of jewelry that I make. For rings it gets even more complicated because I have to make the ring over and over again in different finger sizes. :-) I love that you used sculpey as a kid, I loved working with clay, too. The wax is not pliable like sculpey is so that’s why I can use metal files to shape it. It holds sharper angles and more details, too, which makes it great for jewelry!

  • Doug: February 07, 2017

    Great Job Stephanie! I love it!

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